The Kingdom within

When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21.  Some translations have him reply “The Kingdom of God is in your midst.”

How could the Kingdom of God be within the legalistic Pharisees – religious leaders who shut people out of the Kingdom?  Jesus said “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13

How could the Kingdom of God be within them, or in their midst?  Well, they had the Word of God.  That’s it, plain and simple.  They were the scribes.  The Word was in the scrolls they read and taught from in the synagogues and temple. As for the Kingdom of God in their midst – they should have known from the Word who the King was.

The Kingdom of God is accessed from the Word of God.

god-s-word-translationThe Bible is no ordinary book, as I discovered.  It’s a door.  Reading and seeking the Kingdom of God through the Bible will change you.  What does it look like when a person travels through the Word of God?  Come with me and find out.  I wrote what I learned and experienced in my story “The Kingdom, Here Be Dragons, Here Be Dreams.”

The deaf shall hear

Anna Dassler

Anna Dassler

Anna, a young German woman emigrated to New Zealand with her husband Wilhelm and baby son in 1875.  She went deaf soon after her arrival and was unable to learn English.  After 22 years she was left a widow with half of her eight children under the age of twelve.  There was no social welfare back then, her older sons provided for her.  She didn’t have citizenship because their papers were destroyed in the bush fires that had raged through the province in the 1880’s.

Although Anna could not hear, she was not deaf when it came to hearing from God.   His became the only voice she could hear.   She heard him by reading his word.  A stranger in a strange land, her consolation came from the great words of the Bible.

Anna was my great-great grandmother.   It was obvious from a couple of very old letters of Anna’s that she’d made contact with the Lord through reading the Bible. Some have described Anna’s letters as ‘religious’. I didn’t see it that way. Even though she was a stranger from another culture writing in German, I felt she was speaking my language. Her letters comforted me.

This is one of the things she wrote;

“Trust the Lord in your ways and free yourself of your troubles. Trust His fatherly care, before him nothing is too hard or too large that He cannot guide and lead you by the glory of His name to greater love and happiness. Of all the people and possessions, my saviour is still nearest to me.  The Lord sees into your heart.”  Anna Dassler.

Her words eventually helped guide me back to the Father. It took me a long time to realise that an ancestor’s legacy of faith was God’s gift to me.

God breathedI came to know the Lord after a gap of three generations.  The reason the faith did not get handed down could have been because of hearing and language difficulties and the loss of Wilhelm, or it could have been the presence of Freemasonry in the family.  Or it could have been a combination of all of those factors.

I had my hearing, but I was deaf to God at first.  It took me 20 years before I could hear him.  I first heard him at the age of 35 while reading from Hosea in the Bible.

Sometimes I’m asked how I am able to hear God’s voice. I look at it like this; he’s an author, and we’re in his story. The Lord is called “the author and finisher of our faith” in Hebrews 12:1-2.

We hear him through faith, by taking him at his word. As I said; faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word. That word is the Bible. It’s the only book that has the power to reach the spirit.   On its own can be mistaken for a series of stories, wise sayings, and songs. However it is only through the development of a relationship with the author of the Bible, getting to know his thought processes and connecting with his spirit that we come to recognise the power of his word.

So I began to hear the author of the Bible after reading his book.  Jesus calls it having “ears to hear”.  He taught in parables saying “Whoever has ears, let them hear,” Matthew 11:15

What happens when we haven’t read or heard the word?  God will use signs, dreams, coincidences, and songs or movies from those prophets of the world who have been inspired to write things that line up with his word.  But his normal way of speaking personally to us is through the Rhema word; a word from the Bible for personal application.

dusty-bible

I encourage my son and daughter to read the Bible.  I say it’s the most important book they’ll ever read.  I know if they read it, hearing will come.  But it’s up to them.  I hope they will listen to me because the time is late.

I do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for us to wake up from our slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  Romans 13:11.

In my next blog post, I’m going to show you how God is speaking to those who haven’t read the Bible.

What is the most controversial prophecy in the Hebrew Bible, and why read it at Passover?

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

The Great Isaiah Scroll on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Great Isaiah Scroll on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The actual Great Isaiah Scroll (source: The Israel Museum). The actual Great Isaiah Scroll (source: The Israel Museum).

(Central Israel) — Have you ever been to the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem? Have you ever seen the Great Isaiah Scroll on display there?

It is absolutely breathtaking. And it contains what many believe is the most controversial prophecy in the entire Hebrew Bible.

“The Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa) is one of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947,” notes the Israel Museum on its website. “It is the largest (734 cm) and best preserved of all the biblical scrolls, and the only one that is almost complete. The 54 columns contain all 66 chapters of the Hebrew version of the biblical Book of Isaiah. Dating from ca. 125 BCE, it is also one of the…

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Hand me another brick

Hand me another brick“Princess Deborah” (my friend and prayer partner) and I had repented of our ways, and were on the rebuild of our lives, starting with our boundaries.  We didn’t even know what boundaries were.  All we knew was, that we had to rebuild like Nehemiah did. 

The Lord was VERY interested in what we were doing.  He was right behind us in our endeavour.  When we needed information about “building the wall,” we asked Him for help.  The information was going to be hard to come by, we thought. It was the nineties, and we didn’t have the internet.

Coincidentally two friends who didn’t know each other, and didn’t know what we’d asked for, brought me a book and tapes, before the week was out.   I could see that the Lord was in the work.  He told me when people come to Him in faith asking Him for help in anything touching His will, He delights in it.

So we went to work.  Nehemiah rebuilt the walls around Jerusalem in 52 days, but it took us longer than that.  The day came when I’d had enough of working on boundaries, and wanted to get on with other stuff in the Kingdom.  I headed around to Deborah’s and what did I see?  A big pile of rocks her husband had bought down from Taupo for landscaping.  Yes, it was a big sign to tell us to keep on with the work!

Boundaries are important because having them gives control over your life, it enables you to say “yes” to the good and “no” the bad.  People without boundaries are often compliant and can’t say no, and they attract controlling people who can’t hear no.  You know, the ones who if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.  This is what happened to me and my friend “Princess Deborah”.

The Bible says “He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28  The Lord wants us, with His help, to have rule over our own spirit.

The book I was loaned is called “Boundaries” by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend.  It was really helpful.  I can now say the word ‘no’ without feeling guilt, and I can now recognise and deal with controlling people.  No is a great word!  The tapes were also really helpful but I can’t tell you who did them, I gave them back years ago.  I did take notes and wrote down some very telling extracts in my chapter about “Rebuilding the wall.”

I’ve also found a good sermon on Nehemiah, Rebuilding Spiritual Walls – by Ocean Drive Presbyterian Church, North Myrtle Beach, SC.  If you have 1/2 an hour its worth listening to.

No experience is wasted

FriendsTo everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven,
a time a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them …
Ecclesiastes 3-5.

In my book I wrote a chapter about “Stones,” where I began rebuilding with rubble after a destructive relationship with a narcissist, and some unhealthy friends after him.  I had to rebuild my life on a new foundation.

The friend I met by a swimming pool in an earlier chapter also was going to have to tear down in order to rebuild.  She wanted the same thing for herself and her family that I did.

We began meeting over coffee and praying together with our Bibles open.  We drew inspiration from a book called “Nehemiah”, about a man who God used to build a big protective wall around a kingdom, out of rubble.

I have learned from that time that with the Lord, no experience is wasted.  I am grateful for my nightmare experience with the narcissist because it helped me understand what my friend was going through, and with the Lord’s help I came out of it stronger.  We were able to rebuild standing together, uplifting and supporting each other.

So if anyone reading this is recovering from a destructive relationship, I know what its like because I’ve been there.  With the Lord it is possible to rebuild, even if rubble is the only thing left to rebuild with.   I am blogging for you because the Lord is out there looking for you, and He will restore your soul.  That’s a promise from Psalm 23

Rebuilding with the bricks others have thrown

Successful womanThe King had given me a word to “rebuild the temple”.  He meant “rebuild my life”.

For we are the temple of the living God.  As God has said; “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16

It was difficult rebuilding my life after a divorce and abusive relationship with a narcissist.  Where did I start?  Life had to go on even though I was one of the walking wounded.   I had to come to terms with myself and try and figure out what the hell had happened.  I felt like I’d had bricks thrown at me, and all I had to rebuild my life with was rubble and other people’s rubbish.

It happened because I’d lived life on other people’s terms, seeking my worth in their eyes.  Narcissists love to exploit people like that.

I lacked rule over my own spirit.

“He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls” Proverbs 25:28

At this stage of the journey, I needed boundaries.  I didn’t even know what the word meant.

What did I have to rebuild with?  Rubble, lots of it.  I got started with the bricks.  I have learned since then that with God, no experience is wasted.

‘Stones,’ a chapter in my book deals with the vision I got from Nehemiah.  He’s a guy who in the Bible who built a wall around a shattered Kingdom.

The rhema word

The Bible is called “the Word of God.”  The word is “God breathed,” for it comes from the mouth of God.

Man shall not love by bread aloneGod breathed.

 

There is the Logos word, and the Rhema word.  The Logos is the entire bible, the whole counsel of God, meant for our spiritual instruction and teaching of doctrine.  Its God’s Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.  It has a general application.

The Rhema is the confessed word, which is creative and can be a promise, affirmation or command.  It has a specific application.  In Greek, the word Rhema means “an utterance.”  For the believer, its a word that “speaks” from the Bible for personal application.  Its precious and very valuable.  It applies to a current situation, issue or need and is timely.  When we receive it, it is called “a word.”

The Kingdom story chronicles what I heard from the Lord speaking to me through the Rhema word.  I’ve treasured the words of the Lord and constructed the Kingdom as a place to store them.  Some of the things the Lord told me found their fulfillment several years and chapters later.

For example, early in my walk with the Lord I was given a word, which I recorded in The Kingdom – Signs

“Set up road signs;
put up guideposts.
Take note of the highway,
the road that you take.

Return, O Virgin Israel,
return to the town you left.
How long will you wander,
faithless daughter?
The LORD will create a new thing on earth—
a woman will encircle a man.”  Jeremiah 31:21-22

When I received this Rhema word, I was in a bad relationship I needed to leave.  I was now a follower of “the way”, learning about “the truth”, traveling towards “the life.”

I needed guidance in the way I was living, and to know where the Lord wanted me to be.

This word instructed me to mark the road I took, to setup signs and guideposts.  When I noticed a sign or received a word to guide me, I wrote about it in the Kingdom.  The chapters were my guideposts.

The second part of the word about returning to the town I left was in answer to a question I had about my place in the world.  I wanted to return to Sydney but was stuck in a small town in NZ, bringing up two kids on my own.  The word was to “return to the town I left,” but I didn’t know what that meant.  The part about “walking around a man in a circle” had me completely baffled, but I recorded it in my story.  It was to be revealed in the future.

The chapter about the circle began at “the place of the Tower.”

sand-circles

Prayers, Petitions, and Princesses

After I rid myself of “Silver-tongue” the abuser , I found myself alone with my children.  I took stock of my changed life and looked around me.  Who could I trust?  I now walked a different path from the one that led me to ruin.  I needed to find friends who were walking the same road, or find my way alone. 

“White Flower” had also asked the King to teach her His paths.  She lived just down the street and became a close friend.  It seemed natural to get together over coffee and pray, while our kids played together.

We hadn’t a clue how to pray together though, or what to pray.  The Lord told me to “pray the Word”.  I took it to mean find appropriate scriptures and then pray them in the context of the situation.  The King would speak a verse, and off we’d go to find it.  Back then, I did not have Bible software or a concordance.  My Bible got very well thumbed.  I wore out two paperback Bibles in six years, the first was the ‘Good News’ and the second was the ‘NIV’ translation.

We would come back to him with our petitions, speaking His word.

For example I prayed the Word in Psalm 25;

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.  Psalm 25:4-7

psalm-25-v_452

I found that praying the word is a great way to go to the Lord, using His own words.  The King honours His word.

My book is full of me talking to the King – which is praying to Him using the Word.  The faithful King responded in kind.  If you read my book you will see His replies and revelations have come true in real life.

The Sword of the Spirit

During the period I call “the depression years” my best friend suggested I meditate.  After that first contact with the King in January 1994 where I learned He loved me and I could hear Him, I asked Him how I should meditate.

A useful book called “The power of Positive Thinking” was loaned to me by my Aunt, the one who read me Bible stories as a child.  She didn’t know I’d asked the Lord how to meditate.

As I drove home through the lonely North Island roads with the book beside me, the radio announced news that the author, Norman Vincent Peale had died at the age of 95.  Noting the strange timing, I took it as confirmation I should read the book.

The author suggested memorizing Bible Verses to train the mind to think positively.  I took it on board, and after putting into practice what he wrote and memorising verses it led me to start thinking differently.  I soon found myself knocked off my feet in a spiritual battle.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

I needed to make a stand, but how and with what do you fight an invisible foe?

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:4

Sword of the Spirit

The King taught me about the weapons I could use in the ensuing fight against His enemy. 

“Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

The first weapon that came to hand was the sword of truth, the Word of God.

The sword of the Spirit is one of the six items or armour given to the believer in their fight against evil.  Out of the six pieces of armour, it is the only weapon.

The Bible is the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.  Ephesians 6:10-17

 The Word of God

This is no ordinary book.  It is made up of 66 books by 40 authors, inspired by God.  I have heard a very good acronym to describe it;

Basic
Instruction
Before
Leaving
Earth.

God-breathed

The Bible is God-breathed, the inspired word of God.  The greatest mind in the universe is behind this book.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 2 Tim 3:16

For all that it is God-breathed, it is sealed.  Without the Holy Spirit, it is cold and enigmatic.  The word only comes alive with the aid of the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor the King promised He would send.

Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. John 16:7

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. John 16:13.

Our spirit and unconscious mind can normally only be accessed through dreams.  The Bible is designed to speak to the three-fold part of ourselves.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Unchanged

The Bible has not been changed.  An ancient Bible called the Codex Sinaiticus, handwritten well over 1600 years ago (around 350AD), contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. It is the oldest substantial book to survive Antiquity.  It was preserved in the dry desert air of St Katherine’s monastery at Mt Sinai, said to be the oldest monastery in the world. The Greek words are the same as our English translations.

Jesus said “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18